January 31, 2005 | 9:45 PM ET

We return today to our regularly scheduled mission of (not bombing news) looking at the most talked about clicks on the Web.  Iraqi blogs and election related links were dominant.  Rather than recap them all, I recommend that folks interested in blog news from Iraq start with Friday's entry and scroll up through the weekend.  There's also a lot of linking between partisan pundits anxious to use the elections to prove the wrongness and general stupidity of people they don't like, but you know what I think of all that. ::coughhurtingAmericacough::

Speaking of the world's newest democracy, folks who haven't had enough Iraq election coverage will enjoy this musical slideshow.

A popular online comic strip gets a lot of link attention for making use of the "got the finger" punch line.

Speaking of democracy, this post from Lawrence Lessig saw a lot of link action during the weekend but has since lost ground to all the Iraq election links.  Nonetheless, I wanted to share it because it's an interesting event and one that I've not seen described in mainstream media.

And speaking of democracy, how can I get a D.C. press escort, and do I have to pay extra for one who gives back rubs?  Ah well, the first amendment is overrated anyway.

Though I give the editors credit for finding a way to use the phrase "monkey bottoms" in a headline, any regular user of the Internet can see that this story over-inflates the intelligence of monkeys.  If they were that smart, they'd know they don't have to pay for porn.

John Kerry's Meet the Press transcript is seeing a lot of eyes.

We haven't had a click again feature in a few days.  Everyone knows that kids are better at computers than adults, right?  And each generation only gets better and savvier, right?  Click again.

Invention-of-dubious-usefulness of the day: M&M sorter.

Speaking of inventions, gadget geeks are practically vomiting with excitement over the virtual keyboard.

Sperm racing is the only sport I can think of that's immune from title IX controversy.

Here's the Men's Carnival of the Recipes, which I wouldn't link to on this news site if I didn't see what a huge response the Today show's recipes get online.

Speaking of carnivals, a little while ago we saw the carnival of Christian bloggers, and today I saw a lot of links pointing to the Carnival of the Godless.  Something that interested me is that one of the purposes listed is "to somewhat stem the endless tide of godbloggers appearing day after day as if by - dare I say it? - magic."  [Edit 02/01/05]: This item got garbled the first time around.  My comment about this quote is that I hardly ever run into "godbloggers," but I do occasionally find myself in a blog rut.  Sometimes it'll seem like everything I click is a policital pundit blogger, or a tech blogger, or a New York blogger.  My general trick for getting out of the rut is to find a different starting place.  Use a different directory or start with a completely random blog. 

Though it's a little creepy that the teacher ends up killing her class, it's interesting to note in today's Video of the Day that hiccups are blue.  From I Am Bored.

Commuter Click:  Seeing without sight  This is shorter than our usual commuter clicks, but my eyes are still buggy from the weekend, so I'm going to read this one off paper.

$9 billion dollars, no receipt.

The latest in a thin but discernable string of crumbling-North-Korea articles.

In other news from abroad we get these amazing photos of the icy results of a storm in Geneva.

What constitutes a conflict for a journalist, and how much do you, the reader, need to know about the journalist in order to properly assess potential bias?

Speaking of media and bias and trying to learn the rules and lessons of journalism, Ann Althouse tries a gotcha on the New York Times but Kevin Drum isn't buying it.   

Correction:  Scot Krueger writes in to point out my error yesterday in describing The Mesopotamian's use of the expression "suicide voter" as a coinage.  Turns out that phrase also appeared in a Sunday cartoon last week.  Thus I learn (once again) the lesson that new-to-me does not always mean new.  Thanks Scot for your assistance.

January 30, 2005 | 3:03 PM ET

If you're arriving here for the first time looking for Iraq blog links, you may want to start with my first post from Friday, here.

After a quick nap following our all-night blog vigil, it's nice to see some entries from the other side of the ballot box.

Friends of Democracy has a new set of updates including an audio blog report (note that Audioblog is a cool tool available to everyone).

More mark of freedom photos... and here.  I suspect we'll eventually see a big gallery of these.  A lot of bloggers are appreciating the "give the finger" play on words.

Speaking of purple fingers:

Today when I woke up my father said to me that he wants to finish his work so he can go to the elections. And when he finished his work, he went to the elections with my mother on foot so did my grandfather and grandmother because we can't use our cars (because of the curfew). When they came back, one of thier fingers were purple and they were so happy.

All morning I've been waiting for the follow-up to Ali's announcement, "I'm about to go to the voting center to cast my vote."  He now has a lengthy post on his experience.

Iraq the Model blog has a nice description of their morning as well, with links to photos.

Baghdad Dweller is proud to declare that he is Sunni and he voted (and he promises pictures later today).  This reminds me of a post I saw (but neglected to note the URL) in which a Sunni blogger objected to the term "Sunni triangle" because he felt that the terrorist actions taking place in that region were not inherent to the Sunni religion.

The Mesopotamian coins a phrase: " Suicide voters."

On the air this morning I mentioned the Life in Baghdad blog for the lengthy post deliberating whether or not to risk voting (he's the "blogger's lament" quote from Friday).  He gives us his short but sweet answer now.

I Should Have Stayed Home is a military blog missed in the lead up to the election.  They have some good poll photos.

Speaking of military blogs, Cigars in the Sand allows himself a celebratory cigar.

Not everyone is posting happy reports however:

Today, was full of explosions.
i didnt leave the house, and the same goes for so many families.

Shlonkom Bakazay is not at all a fan of elections, going so far as to say that he's happy his family didn't vote.  My general impression of his reasoning is that if the elections can't be done right (safely, without U.S. involvement) they shouldn't be done at all.

A Star From Mosul is too young to vote but does engage in some interesting stream-of-consciousness blogging on the subject of whether she would.  Also, was anyone wondering how Iraqis were told at the last minute where to vote?

The streets are empty today, as usual.. A police car declaring the names of the school that we can vote in came twice in our street. We can hear explosions in the distance.

Christopher Allbritton makes an interesting observation about gender differences in voting:

Most people are voting for Sistani's list, No. 169, but a significant portion of women are voting for Allawi. They worry about the influence of the religious parties such as SCIRI and Dawa, which dominate No. 169.

The men, however, all voted for No. 169, because they felt it represented them and the people on it would act in the best interests of Iraq.

Here's another photo showing how the identities of Iraqi police are protected with masks.

January 30, 2005 | 3:05 AM ET

If you're arriving here for the first time looking for Iraq blog links, you may want to start with my first post from Friday, here.

The producer tells me that in my next T.V. segment they'll be asking me to show some Web Sites.  In addition to what I've already talked about, here's what else I'll be showing.

From Friends of Democracy:

Lance has photos of the ballots arriving.

Another good 'mark of freedom' photo

Kurdo's commentary on election posters.

Here's what else I clicked:

Abbas Kadhim offers a nice clear explanation of the voting process and what offices the elections are for.  He then goes on to answer questions from his comments area.

Glimpse of Iraq seems particularly focused on kidnappings lately, but as you scroll down you'll also find some interesting description of Iraqi culture.

Raed thinks the elections are happening too soon, and that there's too much focus on them as a standard of success in stabilizing the country:

What matters is not the election, what matters is what will happen next, when the Iraqi people start asking the occupying forces to leave the country, and leave their 14 permanent bases in Iraq. When Shia start asking bushtani why is he siding with the occupation army...

These elections will open the doors of hell.

We've seen how regular Iraqis are dealing with things a bit more basic than elections.  The return of pilgrims from the Haj, fuel shortages, stocking up for the election curfew and the price gouging that comes with such a surge in demand for goods.  One other point that stretches the imagination is that this is also exam time:

hellow evry body i will stop pst for 15 days so you have to wait for me because i 'll have many exams
I am very afraid from the exams hope i 'll do well
now i must go to study
see you later
good bye

This is an interactive map of bloggers in Iraq -or at least, the one willing to say where they are blogging from.  It's difficult to notice for those of us not familiar with the city names in Iraq, but some of the names are puns based on who the bloggers are or where they're bloggers are based.

I'm keeping an eye on Ali, whose last post reported that he is about to go vote and hopes to post when he gets back.  It will be nice to have a first hand report.

This blogger has one post in English, the rest in Arabic.  He sees a difference between the Iraqi people and Iraq the country.

Yesterday , I received an email from an english lady , encouraging me as an iraqi about the election for which i am very grateful.

The entire world is more concerned of the Iraqi elections than the wounded Iraqi nation.
People in Iraq are busy with their lives details trying their best to solve their problems of security, fuel shortage and electricity.

Words from Iraq is a handy aggregating site that takes feeds from several Iraq blogs and posts them in one spot.

January 29, 2005 | 7:13 PM ET

Let's start today's post with a dip into the mailbag:

Hi Will,

Has anyone in the blogs addressed this issue, to your knowledge?

Let me see if I have this straight: The Election Day plan in Iraq is to mark the fingers of voters with ink so they can't vote twice. This presumes that the ink will not be easily washed off. Instead, why don't we just hang a sign around their necks saying "I Voted"? Can't wait for the Monday morning stories from towns like Ramadi and Mosul about insurgents pulling people from buses, street corners and their homes and executing those with ink stains on their fingers. Some will probably be making videos of piles of severed fingers. Great plan.

Perhaps it would be more important to protect those who are brave enough to go out and vote, rather than risking their lives in the name of preventing people from casting more than one ballot?

-- Bob Curley

UPDATE (01/30/05 5:51 a.m.):  Sun of Iraq shares his " mark of freedom."

The question Bob asked about whether of whether this mark is a liability to Iraqis has a sort of "yes and no" answer.  As noted at Iraq Elections Newswire, Col. Jeff Jacobs, the military expert in the studio this morning has also pointed out the potential danger to Iraqis of walking around with a stained finger.  I happened to run into Jacob the translator in the cafeteria (he's the guy who is here translating what is being said on Arab media) and he says that while technically it would be a concern, he doesn't think too much should be made of it because he thinks the real targets are institutions, not individuals.

Now back to my original answer...

Dear Bob,

Thanks for the note.  I don't know the answer but hopefully someone smarter than me will read it here and send in the answer.  I will be on TV later today, so if I manage to run into one of the Iraq experts on the set I'll see if they can explain how it works.

Of course, not having the answer never stops me from talking about something.  The first thing that came to mind was a photo I saw yesterday on the Iraq Pictures blog.  The caption explains that the soldier is teaching an Iraqi, but the guy is wearing a mask like a terrorist.  I've seen a few other photos of Iraqi trainees in masks like this, and the reason is probably the very thing you're concerned about -protecting their identity.

My point is that protecting the identity of helpful Iraqis is something that's been thought about in the past, so has probably been considered in this operation.

In a similar vein, neurotic Iraqi wife, who proudly displays her own " mark of freedom," is not in Iraq, but explained some of the identity security where she voted:

Alot of media was present as well, and I made sure they knew their limits in taking video footage and pictures. They always have to ask permission before doing any of those, cuz we still have people fearing for their families lives back in Iraq.

I'm aware of a similar don't-show-the-people-who-don't-want-to-be-shown policy among some American media folks as well.

The other thing that bear's mentioning is the lock-down situation in Iraq.  On many blogs we've read about people staying in their houses or stocking up on supplies for a few days of keeping their heads down.

Christopher Allbritton is the first reader-funded journalist blogger.  In 2002 he raised enough money through his blog to go to Kurdistan.  He's in Baghdad now, on his third trip to Iraq.  Here's how he describes the election curfew:

The security situation is unreal. No cars tomorrow—except those with special passes, which includes media, cops, political guys, etc. in short, if you're an insurgent and you hit a car tomorrow, you're bound to get someone vaguely important. Only five polling stations in Baghdad will allow cameras or other electronic gear, so bear that in mind when you look at photographs of the election.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm dismissing safety concerns.  In fact, perhaps the best expression I've seen of the dire risk Iraqi voters are taking is in this quote from Sun of Iraq blog:

Yesterday explosion happened at the night near one of elections center in my city it was a rocket that means our elections center is a target to the terrorists, but we must sacrifice for Iraq and for our future and we will crush the terrorists.

And there's this from Iraqi Humanity:, a blog by an Iraqi med student who doesn't have much time for blogging the elections because he's donating his time to the emergency room:

Note: this day was full of bombs as I heard many explosion sounds & as I am writing this post the Alarm sound went on & I should leave now to see if there are any more injured people as we receive today in the hospital about hundred of them injured by the terrorists bombs.

Somewhere along the way I lost track of replying to Bob and just started blogging.  Here's more of what I clicked:

Baghdad Dweller points to a poll on an Iraqi site which he explains shows the Communists with the most support in the election so far.  I don't know what the nature or validity of the poll is, but wouldn't that be ironic.

Free Iraqi has a change of heart about elections:

In general the process of elections itself looked silly for me when I watched it happening in democratic countries through TV. I thought that these people standing in lines were partisans who just wanted their people to win while those who chose not to vote seemed more independent to me!
...
Still and with all this skepticism, I'm going to vote and I don't care if it means risking my life and I don't even care that much how the end results are going to be, not now!

(I note with interest again the difficulty some Iraqis seem to be having with reconciling their sense of individuality with the attitude of "We the people" democracy requires.)

Chrome Dome Zone's photo blow out:  There not much context to these photos but it does give a sense of what the country looks like through soldiers' eyes.

On Soldier's Paradise II I find myself brought back down to earth.  Sure, Democracy and war and making history is a big deal, but someone still has to wash the trucks.

Even though we're following a different format on this blog for the Iraq elections, that doesn't mean we have can't keep some of our regular features.  Here's a Video of the Day, a trailer for a fascinating movie that came out this past fall called Voices of Iraq.

Woo!  Jeff is on a tear.  I haven't read through all of his Iraq links yet, but it's interesting to see when we use different quotes to highlight the same blog.  Further support for the idea that you should click these yourself.  Everyone sees something different.

Iraq Blog Count is a good resource for Iraq blog links as well.

January 28, 2005 | 5:10 PM ET

With the Iraq elections upon us and media access limited by safety concerns, local blogs are again in the spotlight.  Ordinarily in this space I only report on the more heavily clicked items in the blogosphere, but today I'll break from that mission to look at how the Iraqi blogosphere is preparing for elections. 

A common criticism of blogs is how difficult they make finding relevant information quickly.  Since I am often asked how I manage to find anything in the mess of personal sites out there let me start by explaining my Iraqi bloghunting strategy.

I start the day with some of the bigger name Iraq blogs I already know:

I follow the links they recommend, recognizing that there are more out there but that these bloggers have gained popularity for their perspective so I will be well served to follow their advice.

Speaking of popularity, I also look to prominent election cheerleaders like Glenn and Jeff.

And lastly I use the blog lists, either the blogrolls (the list of links in the margin of blogs) of Iraqi bloggers, or portals like The Iraq Files and The Future of Iraq portal.

To be sure, following recommendations from other bloggers is more fruitful.  Clicking through raw lists, especially of Iraqi blogs, can lead to a lot of dead ends.  But blog reports are subjective almost by definition, so the more you click, the more perspectives you see and the broader your view becomes.

All that said, this is what I clicked:

Useful maps from Healing Iraq.

As I mentioned yesterday, Friends of Iraq is probably the best, most comprehensive blog resource on the Iraqi election right now, with first hand reports from all over and also a collection of photo albums.  It looks like it's taking a couple days for some of the reports to be posted but they're valuable nonetheless. 

My one criticism right now is that the navigation is a little confusing.  I started at the blog but then ended up on the reports page.

I'm loving how Iraqis are keeping track of the candidate party list numbers.

The first two debaters were Mr. Mouhammad Al Zayadi from list No. 185 of the Al Mathna block and Mr. Hakem Khazal from list No. 118 of the middle Euphrates block.

As I went to check out Iraq the Model, my browser's auto-complete suggested the URL for Lance in Iraq, which is handy because it put me on the path to looking for more military bloggers in Iraq.  What I appreciate most about Lance in Iraq is that he posts photos of Iraqis and service members (that aren't covered in blood).

Speaking of Iraq pictures, here's a blog called Iraq pictures.  It's pretty well attended, so I hope we'll see some election photos this weekend.

From Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches:

Policemen and Iraqi soldiers are trying to convince people to stay in the city and vote.

Nobody is listening to them.

Whereas Baghdad is filled with Fallujah refugees, now villages and smaller cities on the outskirts of Baghdad are filling up with election refugees.

And

A tired looking guard standing nearby named Salman chimes in on the conversation. “I would be crazy to vote, it’s so dangerous now,” he says with a cigarette dangling from his hand, “Besides, why vote? Of course Allawi will stay in. The Americans will make it so.”

The attitude that the elections are rigged somehow is not uncommon in what I've seen on the blogs.  There is some difference in who they're accused of being rigged in favor of, however.  This fellow, for example, suspects Adil Abdel Mahdi.  When the final voting results are tallied, I hope this perspective is considered if turnout is low.  People who avoid the polls because they don't have any faith in the results is not the same as a win for the intimidation tactics of the insurgency.  Heck, some Americans don't bother to vote when they think the results are a foregone conclusion.

Diary of a Soldier was last updated on the 26th, but it's a good example of the "good news" military blogger.  Read the criticism of Peter Jennings and the soldier's account of Iraqis waving to his passing helicopter.

Speaking of good news bloggers, Chrenkoff is known for his "good news from Iraq" posts, so I took a look there for election links. He has a collection of aid groups people outside Iraq may be interested in.

The Mudville Gazette helps track some Americans in Iraq.

On The Questioning Cat blog, The Jersey Cowboy mentions the issue of sleep problems for U.S. military.  I don't know why I'm always drawn to the stories of people having trouble sleeping.  I guess I see it as an unavoidable sign of humanity.  All humans sleep, and how well they're able to says a lot about their condition.

Here's a funny depiction of what the campaigning is like in Iraq.  Interesting to read his concern about uneducated people being manipulated by candidates.  I wonder what expectations the citizens have of elected leaders.  In America it's a cliche that politicians don't fulfill their campaign promises, but we still seem to believe them every time anyway.

Riverbend's Baghdad Burning is reliably critical of the U.S. and her posts have grown infrequent, but the perspective is authentic, and the report of living conditions is compelling and informative.

Kurdish blogger Kurdo has some shots of campaign posters (scroll down).  I'm having a hard time expressing how amazing it is to me to see what people who have pretty much zero history of campaign media come up with as an effective way to get their message out -and in a field where they have to identify themselves with a three digit number.

Here's a story I haven't heard on TV, this is also the end of the Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the election curfew is complicating the return of the pilgrims.

Iraqi blogger's lament:

I started thinking why should I post? I know that you will say that it is useful to let others, specially the Americans, know what is really happening in Iraq, but is it really useful? How many people will read the post? And if all those people decide to do something for us, will they be able to? And if so, what is that thing that can help us? If I as an Iraqi don’t know, how will they?

The whole post is an insightful look at the Iraqi voter thought process.  It's also interesting to me that this guy hasn't posted since October.  I think this says something about his need to participate in the public discourse on the elections.  A lot of the Iraqi blogs I've looked at had fallen idle for months but have fresh posts in the last week.

What I also see reflected in this fellow's post is some confusion about acting as a group with fellow Iraqis.  He seems uncertain about what he can expect from his countrymen.  And just as I thought I was reading too much into it, I came upon similar sentiments at the end of a this lengthy post.

I said to her: my dear, learn the importance of the word "we" in our lives, work, and future. I see it as the key to success in everything in the world. Look at the west, and how they succeeded?? By the word "we", and working under the slogan "we".
Even Israel, how did they succeed against the Arabs, with it being a small state??
The spirit of "we" rules them…and the spirit of "I" destroyed the Arabs, making them the joke of the world…
When will you learn???
When will you revise your mistakes???
When, when, when….
I do not know….
But I have a tired heart, from all that is happening….

I'll have more to post tomorrow.  In the meantime, please let me know if there's anything you've found that you'd like to share.

January 27, 2005 | 11:23 PM ET

With all the payola scandals around, everyone is joking about how much they wouldn't mind getting paid off.  This guy takes the joke the farthest I've seen so far.  Hey, you never know, it's a big budget.

Speaking of selling yourself:  RentMyChest.com (found by way of this blog, which was found by way of this blog)  By coincidence I saw a female version of this idea with a similar URL the other day.  Unfortunately it definitely crosses into NSFW territory so you'll have to find it yourself. 

Anima- Human hybrids spark controversy:  They fused human cells with rabbit eggs.  Anyone see Sexy Beast?

You think bunny/human is a weird mix?  How about plant/typewriter?

A collection of people's reactions in the months following the 9/11 tragedy.

I don't know the background of this piece or whether it has even the most remote basis in fact, but looking it over, it occurred to me that this is a literal tinfoil hat, "the waves are attacking my brain" theory -but without the aliens.

Someone get this kid some blogware.

Speaking of kids in the news, most of the reaction I've seen to the story of the stick figure death drawings has been that school officials overreacted.  Still creepy though.

Bosch action figures- from a whole site of 3-D renderings of characters in 2-D art.

Budweiser explains last year's Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.  (It's a bit of a pain getting to this video on their site, so this is a direct link.  It if doesn't work for you, start at Budweiser.com and work your way through. 

Speaking of the wardrobe malfunction, funniest line of the day:  " Mommy has dirty chest bumps."

And while we're talking about corporate viral videos, I wonder if part of what made VW so angry about that viral "car bomber" video was that they had a cool video of their own.  (I assume this one's legit.)

But enough corporate video.  Video of the day:  It was halfway over before I figured out what procedure these women were sitting down for.

Ten worst corporations of 2004

I didn't see the Adam Sandler movie about the girl who loses her memory so every date between them is their first, but for today's Commuter Click today I think I'll print out this story about a man who has no memory.

Speaking of illnesses of the brain:

"This is my last diary.

I have written it ahead of time because I knew there would be a point when I was not well enough to continue. " 

Friends of Democracy is shaping up to be one of the most clicked links of the Iraqi election.

Self defense with a walking stick --the illustrations alone make this a worthwhile click.

News-anchor-slayer Powerline Blog finds a new sport in the Washington Post.

Cyber-debate of the day:  Jay Rosen v. Jack Shafer

The French are having some wine sales issues.  The story mentions that the U.S. is close to being the biggest consumer of wine in the world, but doesn't speculate on the impact of recent "boycott France" protests.

Speaking of the French:  "Notebook of digestion "  Through Technorati I found that Boing Boing was one of the referring links, and thankfully they have some English explanation.  The first page of the notebook says Rezo, presumably referring to this French site, which goes on my "to click around at a later date" list.

President Bush puts nucular into the dictionary.  No, really.  See the usage note.

It seems like we could almost do a Star Wars link of the day feature.  For today:  Y'know those words that scroll into space at the beginning of the movies?  Note how many this page shows.

Remember that submarine, the USS San Francisco, that struck the ground earlier this month ?  It's in dry dock now.

If this won't get you up, nothing will.

Dilbert math:  Why your boss is almost mathematically inevitable

Good idea:  A new giant recipe wiki (Well, not giant yet, but holds potential.  It's only a month old.)

Jason Kottke found the source of yesterday's Video of the Day.  There's also a video game there based on the same theme (Note: this page does not endorse cheerleader flinging.)

And speaking of following up on items from yesterday Kottke also points to yet another small world coincidence.

Still speaking of yesterday's items... speaking of the poor man's Tivo.

January 26, 2005 | 9:45 PM ET

Not to long ago a lot of folks were linking to a piece by Heather Mac Donald called "How to Interrogate Terrorists."  Now I see the latest in what has become something of a Web dialogue on the matter.

These are some seriously long items, which explains both the complexity of the issue and why you don't see it explored in a two minute TV segment.  If you have an interest in the torture issue, this is probably worth your time to explore as a Commuter Click.

Elsewhere, Mac Donald debates the Gonzalez confirmation.

Speaking of S.S., both sides now have their own catchy URL.  The battle is on!

And speaking of the Gonzalez confirmation, this link isn't going away any time soon because part of the point is to have bloggers link to it.  We might call it a blogger petition.  Personally I'm skeptical about its effectiveness.  Maybe I'm a cynic, but I have a hard time imagining a senator voting no because he (or she) saw a list of bloggers.

What were you thinking before you clicked this?  55 people share.

Speaking of art using a lot of people, "You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project."

What is your local Starbucks density?  (I'm 138 at home, but only 46 at MSNBC, most of which are in the city anyway.)  Reminder: This is fun, but buy local.

There's a lot of discussion of the latest journalist payoff scandal.  Josh Marshall gets a lot of links for it, I think, because he posted on it so far ahead.  He seems generally underwhelmed by the story though.  What I found more interesting on his site was a nearby post in which he tries to harness the power of his readership for some reporting.

And speaking of social security, bloggers point to yet another angle of the story that doesn't have to do with the actual issue.

Speaking of New York Times links, I don't put them in here often because when it come to links, they're pretty much the definition of mainstream ...which is why you might need this.

If the Bush administration were just a weekly TV show.

Since it's sweeps week and everyone else gets to talk about sex , here's some sex Dungeons & Dragons style.

Speaking of gay cartoons (What? You weren't?  Isn't everyone?) Robot Johnny thinks Buggs is the original gay cartoon.  I think he's just secure in his masculinity.  (Boing Boing has it here  and here.)

Video of the Day: This feels more like a student effort than a real weatherman, but it at least serves as a good lesson for what can happen if you don't prepare for class.  I give him a D minus for his blue screen skills.

Company fires four for smoking and causes countless others to start smoking (from the ears in outrage).

$1.5 billion doesn't go quite as far in Iraq as it does in New York I guess.

Alan and his readers help get Douglas Adams his own asteroid .

Why Iraq Hawks are driving Priuses

USA Today tries to throw a wet blanket on blog enthusiasts but asks an interesting question: Who among bloggers is another Thomas Paine?

The Hot 97 scandal seems kind of local, but it's big enough that we've seen letters about it in the MSNBC.com Letters to the Editor mailbag and bloggers are pointed this hip hop music blog.  There's even a rap response (not for kids, even though you know they've heard worse).

Speaking of rap in serious settings, how'd you like to hear two lawyers argue the difference between ass and azz?

Star Wars opens in May so you better get in line now.  But leave your couch at home.

In case you missed the SNL Condi Rice spoof, the Web is the poor man's Tivo.

The faces of meth:  Very cool (but not in a way you want to imitate) before and after junkie photos.

It's an amazingly small world and Flickr has a page of proof.

January 25, 2005 | 10:36 PM ET

What's photojournalism and what's none of your business?  This is an interesting issue with implications for photobloggers as well as paid journalists.  Some debate of the matter here.

On a related note, the Wall Street Journal looks at bloggers learning the rules of journalism.

Which brings to mind the honorable handling of the mishandled (non-)Michael Moore story.

And speaking of learning, when I was a kid, the only way to learn about blogs was to click every link until our fingers were raw stubs and read every "next big thing" article until our eyes were dry like sandpaper.  Kids today have everything handed to them.

Video of the Day:  I think this is real because:

  • I did a pause/play/pause/play through the whole thing and I don’t see a fake spot.
  • The girl looks a little messed up from it, like she may have hurt her head or hair on the way through the net.
  • The guys all hug and rub each other and completely ignore the girl, which seems believable to me for some reason (sorry male cheerleaders).

Actually, that last item could be a reason why it’s fake.  Maybe they went through the motions and celebration with no girl at all and she was put in later somehow.  They didn’t realize that they were leaving the girl out of their celebration because she wasn’t there when they shot it.  Anyway, cool clip.

Google's got a video search in the works.  It's not like others we've seen though:

Google Video will search the closed captioning text of all the programs in our archive for relevant results.

Speaking of Google, folks have been clamoring about the possibility of a free Web phone offering.  Aaaand folks are pointing out that prominent Firefox employee Ben Goodger has begun working for Google but is still with Mozilla.  Soon they'll have everything but the kitchen sinkoogle.  (Yes, I'm aware of the fact that I'm making that crack on a Microsoft property.)

Presidential video mad libs

Veteran vlogger Lisa Rein gives us more presidential video fun a la Daily Show.

And speaking of the Daily Show, a lot of folks point to Stephen Colbert on NPR.

Blogospherizens are a little distressed over some of this year's prom fashions.  (At first I thought the girl in the photo was wearing the dress backward.  Note to self: buy stock in two-sided tape.) 

Life imitating art (and retaining most of its humor).

Following yesterday's baby name search engine, one I didn't think to look for is Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116.  My first guess was that the name translates to "falling asleep on the keyboard."  (Found via the Wikipedia unusual article page.)

With the approaching elections in Iraq, it seems like everyone who walks past my desk asks me about Iraqi bloggers.  More on that later in the week, but for now, there is no more famous Iraqi blogger than Salam Pax.  I'd never seen a picture of him before, but today I found an interview he did with Canadian media, video here.

While we're in the awards season, the 2005 Bloggies nominations are up --at least, that's what I hear.  The site's be crashed from a bandwidth overdose since yesterday.  C'mon guys, blogs are huge now, huge traffic.  Did you seriously not think you'd get clobbered with hits?

Speaking of awards, Dan Drezner invents the Rogers for people who got screwed out of an Oscar nomination.

Speaking of movies, folks are pretty eager for the new one from Tim Burton (who I still say would make a great Harry Potter director).

The Accidental Stalker:  Or a comment about male internalized guilt.

Remember the VW carbomber ad that was the Video of the Day last Wednesday ?  Apparently VW isn't too pleased with it.

The End of Conservatives:  A traditional old conservative tries to sort the politics from the labels.

Senate Democrats lay out opposition agenda.  This is the most clear "what the Democrats are about" post I've read in a while.

Hugh Hewitt's first Vox Blogoli of 2005 draws link attention.  I like his no-jerks rules.

It seems like this song has become a favorite for video amateurs.  It's also a variation on a genre that I've not seen defined but maybe one of you knows what it's called.  The others I've seen in English use foreign language songs but occasional sound-alike English words pop up.  I don't speak Japanese, but it looks like they're finding Japanese sound-alike words and some English ones in what I think is an Italian song.  Is this how you saw it?

I don't care, I would still drive this.  But why do cars like this never seem to make it off the proverbial drawing board?  Do buyers really prefer boxes?

Commuter Click:  Making memories stick

January 24, 2005 | 7:38 PM ET

It's difficult to discern a real theme today so I won't try to force one.  Monday's are awkward, especially this one .

Chrenkoff has a darn handy guide to who's who in the Iraqi election.

Video(s) of the Day:

  • Following the Chrenkoff item, this is probably the real Video of the Day.  You may have heard about the Iraq election commercial being aired over there.  Watch it here.  (News on a similar theme.)
  • An 8 minute look at the development of the Wikipedia entry for the Heavy Metal umlaut
  • The Dissident Frogman does a bit of gloating to a punk rock version of Sesame Street classic "Mah na! Mah na!" (Democrats, minimize your screen, the song is still funny to hear.)
  • Speaking of France and energetic noise, this movie feels a little longer than it needs to be, but still cool. (Reminds me a little of this one in New York Source)

This doesn't quite fit the theme of this blog but it is literally at the top of almost every blog list today so I'd be remiss not to pass it on.

I never heard of Exeem before, but suddenly it seems all the buzz as a "new Napster."  Naturally, it comes in a spyware-free illegal bootleg version too.

Austin Bay gets attention for his explanation that taking the fight to al Qaeda both literally and philosophically has taken away their strategy of "we can strike at any time" patient terror.  New vocabulary word:  "Technological compression."

The blogosphere continues to pay close attention to the ambitions of Howard Dean .

Some folks thought Senator Barbara Boxer was rude and out of line in her questioning of Condoleeza Rice last week.  Others apparently felt her performance was heroic.

Commuter Click:  Squashed Philosophers  (take your pick)

The most used, most quoted, the most given, sources of the West. The books that have defined the way the West thinks now, in their author's own words, but condensed and abridged into something readable.

What would Nostradamus do?  This article suggests that the earth will reject us all in ten years.  They better be right because you can bet that ten years from now bloggers will find this link and rub their faces in it if they're wrong.  (Alan Boyle had an editorial budget item that he'll be writing on this subject today, so keep an eye out for Watch a 'ring of fire' solar eclipse online.)

This week's Brad Stone column in Newsweek gets clicks from bloggers.  It covers the credibility/payoff question as well as the viral marketing strategies we've been looking at.

Lots of links pointing to the DJ Food page today, no doubt from mp3 bloggers and smash-up fans.  The main page says they've had to take down the audio download link temporarily, but I was able to take the whole mp3 soundtrack from the info page.

If you couldn't find it with ten words, what makes you think you'll find it with 32?

Twinkie sushi

Think baby names.  They don't know Jack.  (Actually, they do, but hey, why not go with Jacinto?

It is entirely possible that sometime in the relatively near future, you'll be the only person in the room who doesn't know what Second Life is.  Change your fate.

You don't need to learn any of these games, however.

In spite of today's big anti-abortion rally , it's the pro-choice folks manage to get their link on the "most linked" lists today.

Today's do-it-yourself click:  The portable rotary phone

This seems like you could make one yourself: Scrolling message belt buckle

" Did you know you can write fiction about collaborative fiction writing using collaborative fiction writing tools?"

This may be the story that will bring the Wisconsin vote controversy into the mainstream -especially with the introduction of a character who calls himself Supreme Solar Allah.  Yeah, now you want to click it, don't you?

Ben Hammersley is no fan of nofollow.  (While you're there, someone send this to Leno.)

With rulings like this, you'd almost think freedom was a basic American value.  (Note:  Realize what the story is about before you click some of those links.)

You wouldn't know it by today's links, but it's national " No Name-Calling" week.

" There are days where I come to hate the blogosphere."

This popular photo series reminded me of an age when I could easily look at the world from the perspective of my Star Wars figures.

I don't know much about global finance, but this sounds bad.

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